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busy, busy, busy

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Monkey trial redux: The Kansas State Board of Education is preparing to put the theory of evolution back on trial

The Scopes Monkey Trial could be up for a 21st century replay in Kansas.

Sometime this spring, three members of the Kansas Board of Education plan to hear testimony from proponents of evolution and intelligent design, in a trial-like hearing with a court reporter and cross-examination of witnesses.

The result could change how science is taught in Kansas schools.

"Nothing's on trial, except maybe evolution," said Kathy Martin, one of the three board members -- all conservative -- who will hear the evidence.

Steve Case, a Kansas University research professor, has been asked to provide 10 scientific witnesses to make the case for evolution. He has resisted, saying that the proposed hearing would be more about rhetorical style than scientific substance.

"I think there's potential in an oral hearing for a big marketing-type event," Case said. "That's what the Scopes Monkey Trial was. It was set up by the business community in Dayton (Tenn.) to attract tourism. It wasn't set up to decide national issues, and it didn't very effectively."

Case has asked, instead, that the subcommittee solicit papers from the Kansas higher education community to provide answers on the topic.

Intelligent design proponents, however, want a full-blown debate.

"The last thing a Darwinist wants is to have debate over this issue," said Intelligent Design Network president John Calvert, who advises conservative members of the state board. "There is a scientific controversy, and the other side will say there is no controversy."

In fact, some evolution proponents are suggesting that scientists shouldn't participate in what they say will be an unfair hearing.

"The deck is completely stacked," said Liz Craig, a spokeswoman for Kansas Citizens for Science. "I don't believe anybody's going to participate on Calvert's terms, because it's just ridiculous." ...

Craig, meanwhile, criticized the proposal to have 10 witnesses from each side. There are vastly more scientific proponents of evolution, she said, than of intelligent design.

"If you put 10 scientists up there and 10 supporters of intelligent design up there, it makes it look to the public like it's equal," she said.

Abrams has, so far, resisted Case's suggestion to skip hearings and solicit papers.

There are "papers all over the place," Abrams said. "There's not been a forum to allow scientists to question scientists."

Resistance among scientists may change the plans of the subcommittee. But Martin said she hopes the hearing could convert a few skeptics of intelligent design.

"Maybe the public -- or the press -- will realize there are scientists who have doubts about evolution, that there's an authentic reason for having this discussion," she said.

Case, who chairs the board's science standards revisions committee, said he would rather not participate.

"Our mission is to serve the kids of Kansas," he said. "A big show trial, show hearing, to decide national issues probably doesn't serve the students."

Sham, show trial, stacked deck, kangaroo court--is there any other way to describe this nonsense? Three creationists are going to listen to and decide the issue based upon a "debate" between scientists and... creationists? I know where I'm putting my money.

There are "papers all over the place," Abrams said. "There's not been a forum to allow scientists to question scientists."

This one comment sums up the entire reason why these backwards prairie-dwelling hick fucks shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a discussion about science. There's no forum where scientists get to question each others' findings? Those "papers all over the place" might be a good place to start looking for such a forum. Scientists don't stand at podiums and "debate" their research. They publish. They go through peer review. The crap gets weeded out, the most accurate findings stick around for a while. Where is the forum where creationists are allowed to question other creationists?

I do sense this is a losing battle. If I'm right, I sincerely wish upon the victors all the consequences of their victory.

Directory of Open Access Journals

What can be better to free access to academic journals?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! A Small Lesson in Conservatism

Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! A Small Lesson in Conservatism is a wonderful way to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. In simple text, parents and children follow Tommy and Lou on their quest to earn money for a swing set their parents cannot afford. As their dream gets stuck in Liberaland, Tommy and Lou’s lemonade stand is hit with many obstacles. Liberals keep appearing from behind their lemon tree, taking half of their money in taxes, forbidding them to hang a picture of Jesus atop their stand, and making them give broccoli with each glass sold. Law after law instituted by the press-hungry liberals finally results in the liberals taking over Tommy and Lou’s stand and offering sour lemonade at astronomical prices to the customers.

The blurb fails to mention how this reactionary primer instructs children that "Liberals" have used the judicial system to force children's programs to include profanity. I weep for the future (if such a thing as "the future" exists...).

And while you're perusing delightfully disgusting crap, be sure to visit The Presidential Prayer Team. (Thanks Mac!)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lesson of the day: God hates metal bands

Korn Guitarist Finds God, Leaves Band

Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch has parted ways with the hard rock act, citing a recent religious awakening.

Welch broke the news Sunday on Bakersfield, Calif., station KRAB-FM.

"I had it in my heart to come here and explain to you," Welch said. "I'm good friends with Korn. I love those guys, and they love me, and they're very happy for me."

Addressing the aggressive tone of the music he made with Korn, Welch said, "Anger is a good thing, and if kids want to listen to Korn, good, but there's happiness after the anger. I'm going to show it through my actions how much I love my fans."

Welch added that he would be appearing at a local church on Feb. 27, during which time he would "speak (about) how I got to this place in my life, and I'll answer all your questions."

Rock band loses everything to fire

Next week.

Members of the heavy metal rock band The Esoteric said that's when they had been planning to buy renter's insurance for their "House of Metal" at 820 Ohio.

But an early morning house fire Tuesday beat the band to the punch, leaving burnt remains of guitars and amps floating in the basement that had been a practice space and recording studio.

"We're very thankful to be standing here right now because it was close," said Marshall Kilpatrick, who fled the house with fellow band member Steve Cruz about 3 a.m.

Cruz said he was watching the director's cut of "Donnie Darko" in his room when he first smelled "something horrible."

He discovered flames and thick smoke creeping from the basement into the kitchen and alerted housemate Kilpatrick.

Interesting that they were getting their Darko on when while the house starting to burn.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Writer Hunter S. Thompson Kills Himself

Hunter S. Thompson, the hard-living writer who inserted himself into his accounts of America's underbelly and popularized a first-person form of journalism in books such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," has committed suicide.

Thompson was found dead Sunday in his Aspen-area home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff's officials said. He was 67. Thompson's wife, Anita, had gone out before the shooting and was not home at the time.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Thoughts from Kansas

And while I'm not doing anything constructive, please know that I am not the only blogger in Larrytown carrying on about the Kansas science standards. Unlike me, this guy knows what he is talking about and he actually engages in action away from the keyboard. Check him out.


I'll resume full-on blogging in March. It could be late-march, it could be early-March, but it will be March.

If something really stunning happens before then, it could even be sooner than that.

In the meantime, I'll just post amusing, interesting, shocking, and/or horrifying articles and whatnot sans commentary. I do need something to do when I'm not working or reading.

My current playlist:
Sigur Ros - ( )
Liars - they threw us all in a trench and stuck a monument on top
!!! - Louden Up Now
Silver Jews - American Water
Pavement - Wowee Zowee

Steve Erickson - Arc d'X

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Terminal Post

What started out as a fun diversion I now find to be an extremely tedious and unfulfilling chore. I feel that I have nothing left to say that a thousand other bloggers aren't saying already; I'd rather read it than write it.